- About the Companion Website: www.oup.com/us/ohss
- The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies
- New Keys to the World of Sound
- The Garden in the Machine: Listening to Early American Industrialization
- Turning a Deaf Ear? Industrial Noise and Noise Control in Germany since the 1920s
- “Sobbing, Whining, Rumbling”: Listening to Automobiles as Social Practice
- Selling Sound: Testing, Designing, and Marketing Sound in the European Car Industry
- Sound Sterile: Making Scientific Field Recordings in Ornithology
- Underwater Music: Tuning Composition to the Sounds of Science
- A Gray Box: The Phonograph in Laboratory Experiments and Fieldwork, 1900–1920
- From Scientific Instruments to Musical Instruments: The Tuning Fork, the Metronome, and the Siren
- Conversions: Sound and Sight, Military and Civilian
- The Search for the “Killer Application”: Drawing the Boundaries around the Sonification of Scientific Data
- Inner and Outer Sancta: Earplugs and Hospitals
- Sounding Bodies: Medical Students and the Acquisition of Stethoscopic Perspectives
- Do Signals Have Politics? Inscribing Abilities in Cochlear Implants
- Sound and Player Immersion in Digital Games
- The Sonic Playpen: Sound Design and Technology in Pixar’s Animated Shorts
- The Avant-Garde in the Family Room: American Advertising and the Domestication of Electronic Music in the 1960s and 1970s
- Visibly Audible: The Radio Dial as Mediating Interface
- From Listening to Distribution: Nonofficial Music Practices in Hungary and Czechoslovakia from the 1960s to the 1980s
- The Amateur in the Age of Mechanical Music
- Online Music Sites as Sonic Sociotechnical Communities: Identity, Reputation, and Technology at ACIDplanet.com
- Analog Turns Digital: Hip-Hop, Technology, and the Maintenance of Racial Authenticity
- iPod Culture: The Toxic Pleasures of Audiotopia
- The Recording That Never Wanted to Be Heard and Other Stories of Sonification
Abstract and Keywords
The study of iPod use throws light on users' attitudes toward public places, others, and their own cognitive management of experience. This article analyzes the nature of the pleasures of auditory toxicity, which goes beyond the proprioceptive into the nature of the social world and the communication technologies. In doing so it recognizes that iPod use should not be divorced from a range of other media and communication technologies habitually made use of. The intense sonic immersion embodied in iPod use itself contains elements of both toxicity and creativity. This duality of use produces its own paradoxes, since people blast music in their ears to derive pleasure, and yet yearn for control, peace and quiet. Thus lies the paradox of toxic audiotopias: sound produces silence, connectivity produces separation, and mediated toxicity produces control. Finally, the article suggests that iPods are just one element of the changing sound matrix of contemporary culture.
Michael Bull, University of Sussex, has written widely on sound, music and technology. He is the author of Sounding Out the City: Personal Stereos and the Management of Everyday Life (Berg 2000), Sound Moves: iPod Culture and Urban Experience (Routledge 2007) and is co-editor of The Auditory Culture Reader (Berg 2003). He is also the founding editor of The Senses and Society Journal published by Berg.
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